FFM XShe has more books than friends. Even on her Facebook account.
Eleven are duplicated, four are autographed, nine are missing covers, and six are in languages she doesn't speak.
(Her books, not the friends, but one never knows.)
She's worked the same job for three years, saying that it will get her to bigger and better places. It took her three years to figure out that she can't see any places, let alone bigger or better ones.
She writes stories about sad little people like her, except she didn't realize that she was like all of them. She was different because she liked her job. She liked her job until she realized she didn't. And then she couldn't think of anything that set her apart.
She has more books than friends, and she collects them the way one might collect loose change. (Again, the books, not the friends.) She hasn't read all of them, and she doesn't even know that she will. She gathered them all up in order to make herself manic-pixie-dream-girl.
But now, she's a depressive-pi
The DoctorWhen I was seven, I was diagnosed with emotions.The Doctor in Short Stories More Like This
"Poor girl." I heard them say. "She'll never survive this one."
I laid with my face towards the ceiling on the cold examination table, listening to them discuss my fate. I felt something breaking in my chest and something burning inside my throat. A small tear slipped down my cheek.
"Doctor! Look at this!" Shrieked my mother, "Something is coming out of her eye."
The doctor rushed over to me and wiped the tear from my cheek. He touched the top of my head as he whispered, "I am so sorry." And then he turned to my mother. "It's a tear. It means that she is sad."
"Sad?" My mother asked inquisitively.
"It's one of her emotions. This doesn't attack the same way that normal diseases do, there are all sorts of different symptoms. Right now, she is sad and the only way that I know how to explain it is that she is feeling down."
"What do you mean by down?"
"Her emotions can best be described as ones that are upwhen she is feeling good, and
The Man in the Coffee ShopThe man who works at the coffee shop looks like you. I noticed this some time ago and have since frequented the place. He recognizes me now. He smiles at me when I come in. His smile even looks like yours. He doesn't say hey though- you always said hey.The Man in the Coffee Shop in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
I still work at the library even though you're not there.
Sometimes I look over to your desk and expect to see you typing at your computer, but someone else is there now. It's not you.
Sometimes someone will come in who looks like you. Maybe he will have the same hair, same stature, same profile, same laugh, same voice. It's never been you.
Sometimes I drive myself crazy. I pull at my hair and scream 'till my lungs burst. I scream for and at you. I ask how you could have left me here.
Sometimes I allow myself to believe that I will see you again. By chance we will run into each other in a Wal-Mart far away.
I go to the coffee shop on Tuesday afternoons. I order a small chai tea with milk.
Sometimes the man is working at th
I'm Just Waiting for the RainHe keeps his umbrella close, but never opened. Storm clouds roll in and out of his life, but they never stop to even wet the ground.I'm Just Waiting for the Rain in Short Stories More Like This
He wakes up every morning at 6:15, stays in bed for another five minutes, and takes a shower that lasts eight and a half minutes. He eats two slices of buttered toast and a small tumbler of orange juice. He dresses himself in a blue button-down with a striped tie and shines his shoes so that he can see his face. If it's cold out, he wears his black trench coat and if it isn't, he just wears his sport coat. He carries his briefcase every day, along with his umbrella. He can't forget his umbrella. The train leaves at 7:00 and he is at the station by 6:55. He hasn't missed a day of work in eight years.
His career isn't exactly what he hoped it would have been. If he were to think back on it, he would realize that it isn't even close. Thankfully, he never does.
At 7:45 he goes for his morning coffee runblack with two sugars. Provided the line isn't too
ImpressionableYou left impressions in her skin and they sank straight down to her heart. You always told her that she was impressionable, but she never took it quite so literally.Impressionable in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
She was holding memories so tightly that her hands started to burn. Each day a layer of skin would char and crumble. She swept the ash off and carried on.
Sometimes when she felt lonely, she would take old blankets and wrap herself in them. They smelled like the people who used them before her. They have absorbed their dreams, their feelings, their hearts. She liked to hear other peoples' dreams because she never had one herself.
She never felt quite at home. She worried about getting caught in a gust of wind and tossed down in a field somewhere, but secretly, she hoped for it.
She missed you. She wouldn't admit it, but I could see it in her face and hear it in her words.
She lost her right shoe one night. She walked a half mile in the rain without it and arrived at the front door with a big smile on her face. Sometimes I
PersephoneI fed herPersephone in Free Verse More Like This
and she cried
at every frozen sunrise
for 180 days.
With cracks in my heart
caught in my hair
I counted 180 more.
LiminalI woke after thirteen hours of sleepLiminal in Free Verse More Like This
and when I looked in the mirror,
there were still bruise-purple
crescent moons beneath my eyes.
tired no longer comes from a
lack of sleep—it has reached a state
of permanence, engraving itself
into my bones. When you ask
how I am, I will now answer:
cold and tired.
It was later that night when I
tasted the liquor cabinet
to see what all the fuss was about.
Whiskey burns as it goes down
and settles in the cavity of the heart,
encompassing it with a hug
that a lover will never reach.
I now want to know if I will
ever be able to melt.
I used to close my eyes beneath
the night sky, as everything in the
universe was staring me down,
and beg that one of the
billions of beings out there
would make me smaller.
If that tiny girl
in a big open field,
beneath the big open sky,
who hadn't ever seen the big open sea,
got her wish,
would she even be able to see
herself in the mirror?
Oh Dear.He is an Oscar Wilde inspired man-poetOh Dear. in Free Verse More Like This
Whose subjects are as real as glass.
He is a silly chorus boy
Spending far too much time in the music room.
He is a reader,
Who hums to himself while his eyes float across the page.
He is real-
But I don't even know his name.
And I am already infatuated.
I am the WriterI am a protagonist,I am the Writer in Concrete Poetry More Like This
A minor supporting character
I am the investigator,
The prophetic narrator
I am your hero
Your forgotten sidekick
I am the writer
Day NineteenI.Day Nineteen in Free Verse More Like This
This building will always
remind me of you.
You left your presence
in its walls and
it creaks like a
I hear you have a
I’ll never know if
it’s a he or she,
and that is surprisingly okay.
You are every cyclist
wearing aviator sunglasses,
which means that I see you,
six times on my way home.
that is the same number
of times that my heart stops
I have a friend with
the same name as you, it
feels weird saying it
I’ve written you
pages of poems,
hoping that your memory
will bleed from my fingers
like a pen
running out of ink.
The results of
this test are
Grandfather's BirdGrandfather had a pet bird. Just a small, yellow and white parakeet; he named it Georgie, after Grandmother. Every morning, he would wake up at 6 o'clock, make a pot of coffee, grab the newspaper, and feed the small bird a small pile of birdseed. And he would gently carry the birdcage, and place it on the table and talk to her as he drank his coffee and read the newspaper.Grandfather's Bird in Scraps More Like This
"Gas prices are up again Georgie, geez, remember when we could pay 20¢ to fill up our car?"
And sometimes the bird almost chirped in response. Years and years went by, and Grandfather grew older, and he could no longer carry the bird off the shelf, but he would still feed and talk to her at 6 o'clock.
One morning, Grandfather found himself barely able to make it out of bed. He still made his way into the kitchen to feed his dear bird. His hand shook and some birdseed fell to the floor as he carefully moved into the tray into the cage. He slowly made his way to the table so that he could sit down.
I'm coming out: I'm straightMom? Mum? Can I talk to you?I'm coming out: I'm straight in Short Stories More Like This
My voice quivered. Both of them looked up at me. Moms head was in Mums lap. Mum was slowly stroking her forehead, leaning down to kiss her forehead while still staring at me intently. A satanic bible was placed in Mums lap, the thin, withered pages torn in a few places from continued reading. You know you can talk to us about anything, Mom said, smiling, sitting up a bit straighter. She leaned over to kiss Mum, who kissed her back. I took a seat on the couch and pulled my knees up to my chin, staring down at my cuticles. Even for a guy, they were pretty nasty.
I took a deep breath. Guys? I dont really know how to say this but, I think Im heterosexual.
The room went silent. Mum looked up from our satanic bible and pursed her lips. For a second, I thought she was going to reach out and slap me. In a tight voice, she said, You know how we feel about heterosexuals. We raised you to be
Born.There is a world where every life is written down in one, unique book.Born. in Philosophy & Perspectives More Like This
No two books are the same; they can be similar, but no two pages are ever perfectly alike. Each book is unique to the person that holds it.
On the day of the creature's birth, they are given this book: their name already written in blocky little letters on the cover. With infantile hands, they push the cover of the book away to expose the first page of the book. Of course the book starts out a simplistic read. Things that this young child will be able to comprehend within moments.
But, as the pages turn, and turn, and turn, the text begins to thicken. The child is growing up while their reading skill rises. Eventually this book no longer bares one simple word on an expanse of white, but begins to closely resemble that of an earth-bound novel.
The book tells an intriguing story, of course. It's probably most interesting to the creature it is given to, though seeing as the book is all about their life.
A Teen's Guide to SuicideHey, kids! Now, those of us over here in the government have noticed that the suicide rate has gone up 8% for you teens in the past year. Now, we know that life can be incredibly difficult (what with angsty teen drama, th need for high-end fashion and technology, and oh so difficult classes). Some us in the government believe it or not! actually understand your desire to kill yourself! Yep, that's right! We can relate to you!A Teen's Guide to Suicide in Short Stories More Like This
We remember times in our lives when we thought suicide was the only option. Now, looking at these scores, we realize that we're not the only ones in the country who have thought like this!
Did you know that 2 3 out of every 100,000 females will commit suicide? 11 12 males will commit suicide as well! Those numbers are daunting!
But we also realize another, even more horrifying number there are 308,000,000 people in this country! On top of that, there are 6 billion people in the world. Wow! Those numbers are s
Be nice to me, I have cancer.Be nice to me, I have cancer.Be nice to me, I have cancer. in Philosophy & Perspectives More Like This
I wince and glance around at everyone around me. A few curious eyes glance at my mother, trying to be surreptitious but the greedy look in their eyes lets me know they want to hear more. I sigh and duck my head a bit, moving closer to my mom and mumbling beneath my breath, Please, dont do this right here, right now; cant it wait until were in the car?
Why should it? she challenges back at me. Be nice to me. I. Have. Cancer. She says it loudly, and more heads turn to stare at me. I blush and look up at my mothers bald head. Wisps of hair try to shine through, but it doesnt do much but make her look like a sad, pitiful lion. The hair is a silky blond color. Her original hair color was black. I wonder how her hair managed to change color, and I wonder if the radiation had anything to do with it, or maybe my mom had just been dying her hair before then without l
004 Creepypasta _Are you thereYou may not be real. You may not exist. Your idea of life may simply be a fabrication of thought. Everything you know and love may disappear in a fog at any given moment. That mouse thats held between loose lipped fingers might suddenly melt, may cave in upon itself and cease to be. The beating heart in your chest can stop beating. Your breath could collapse in your throat, wedge itself between vocal chords and solidify. The life you hold so dearly to your charcoaled soul may splinter and leave you gasping for air.004 Creepypasta _Are you there in Horror More Like This
All it would take would be one thought, one question of, am I real? to start the chain reaction. Everything will deteriorate, decomposing and decaying faster than you can answer your own question. When the foundation of ideas crumbles, everything that idea has spawned will slowly fade away.
Look down at your hand.
Doesnt it look paler than before?
Slenderman.Stop.Slenderman. in Settings More Like This
He might hear you.
I am pressed against the wall. My fingers are spread as wide as they will go as my palms press heavily on the drywall. I take a deep breath. Hold it tight. I feel the air escaping my lungs, my circulation; my blood thinning of oxygen as I hold, one, two, three .
I hear Him slither down the hallway. His movements are languid, snake like, as He comes after me. I can imagine it all in my head: the long, thin arms, coiling around every turn and corner, searching for me. Have you ever noticed His face? His eyesor lack thereof? I have a theory. He doesn't have eyes because He doesn't need them. He hears things. Feels things. Smells things.
I exhale, slowly, hoping not to catch His attention. It's a fruitless thought. He knows where I am. He's only playing with me. A game of cat-and-mouse, where He is the cat, and I am nothing more than a rubber mouse hiding underneath old and rusty furniture. He will
Judgement"You need to stop doing this."Judgement in Short Stories More Like This
"Stop doing what?"
"Writing me into your stories."
"Because it scares me. I'm not this guy that you write about. I'm not some kind of Prince Charming and I'm certainly not a sea God or whatever you like to say about my eyes every now and then."
"Yeah. You really need to work on your judgement of people, because this is all wrong. It's like you don't know me at all!"
"So why don't you correct me and I'll fix my idea of you accordingly."
"Well firstly, I'm a really nervous person."
"Yeah. Your hands are either fiddling with your hair or your sleeve, or you're biting your nails."
"And I don't like going out. I'm a hermit."
"Except to your best friends' houses, or to the animal shelter, or to me."
"And I'm dead inside."
"Says the boy who hides his tears at the sight of an injured puppy."
"I do not."
"Yes, you do."
"Anyway, I'm not always nice to you. In fact, I really don't do enough."
"You're right. Except yo
Death"Do you fear death?"Death in Short Stories More Like This
The question loomed in the air before my body, as if a sword looming over someone almost conquered by their enemy. But I looked down at my hands and then back up, only to say, "Have you ever felt the pain of watching two lovers embrace at the end of a movie? It's supposed to be a happy ending. But your heart tells your lungs to stop breathing for just a minute because it will never ever be yours."
"Do you fear death?"
A question repeated deserves an answer. But instead, my trembling hands sat clenched on my lap, the blue ink like veins showing through the frail covering that might rip apart any second. "Do you know what it's like to wake up in the middle of the night to hear a song, just to remind yourself, you're going to be all right? Over and over again until it doesn't work anymore."
"Do you fear death?"
The invisible chain linked through my fingers, and I closed my tired eyes, this time, hearing the impatience in th
Introductions"Hi, I'm-"Introductions in Short Stories More Like This
"I know who you are."
"You're the guy who thinks he's invisible."
"I have a name-"
"It isn't important. Because you really don't think it's important."
"All right. Since we've started out this way, let me just tell you, I know you too."
"You're the girl who is broken."
"I am not broken."
"You're the girl whose eyes close every night and open the next morning, only to find you have never slept at all."
"I sleep well. Besides-"
"You're the girl who dreams of a happy ending even though she has seen seventeen...no, eighteen unhappy ones in her eighteen years."
"Happy endings are over rated. And you're-"
"You're the girl who wants something bigger, something stronger, just so the weakness in her body becomes something so much more."
"You don't understand weakness the way-"
"You're the girl whose heart broke when she was so young, and she fixed it back together with superglue, but cannot ignore the cracks."
"Superglue makes for a good companion, especially when-"
ObsessionIt takes 14 minutes and twelve seconds to walk to your home from mine every day. Your mother never fails to smile at me when she opens the door. I never fail to notice that it doesn't reach her eyes anymore.Obsession in Emotional More Like This
You leave your door open an exact two point three centimeters. I don't think you do it on purpose. There is something wrong with the wood that has left it that way. I pause one foot outside the door and listen to you cough, trying to determine how sick you feel today. I hate that every time I think you are particularly ill, I am always right.
Six months, seventeen days and fourteen hours. That is how long its been since the doctors told us you had an illness. I sat there with your parents, listening to a man who said words like 'terminal' and 'leukemia', and counted the number of times he said 'patient' as if it were your name (Seventeen).
The blood bank says one unit is four hundred and fifty milliliters and I watch as they put the needle into my ar
Inside Out"I think I wear my soul inside out."Inside Out in Emotional More Like This
"My soul. It's inside out."
"That's a strange thing to say."
"I have all the symptoms though."
"And what are the symptoms of this disea-"
"It's not a disease."
"All right. What are the symptoms, then?"
"I care too much about all the wrong things, I worry about odd things, my heart breaks too easily and my brain feels a little too asymmetrical to the things that are supposed to be fun."
"You know parties and alcohol and normal things. Like that."
"Nothing. What do you care too much about?"
"Everything. Global warming. The whales. Aliens. Israel. Sarajevo. The Ozone-"
"I get it. Everything that counts and you can do nothing about by yourself."
"You sound cynical."
"You sound paranoid."
"It's just honest. What worries you?"
"The fact that you are too self involved to notice."
"If I disappear."
"You idiot. Ofcourse I will notice if you disappear. I'd not
Thirty Three Percent"What are you doing?"Thirty Three Percent in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
"I think I finally figured out percentages."
"We learnt those in the third grade."
"Yeah, but we always complained that we'd never use them in real life."
"And you know how to use them in real life now?"
"Eighty four percent."
"That's the percentage of how many basketball matches you lost to me when we were kids."
"That's not fair! You're taller than me!"
"Fifty two percent."
"Is that how much taller than me you are?"
"No. That's the percentage of times you speak out of turn and get into trouble for it."
"Twenty three percent."
"Let me guess, that's how much I annoy you?"
"That's the percentage of times your mother told you she loved you when you were a child instead of the amount she should have."
"Seventy nine percent."
"I don't think I like this game anymore."
"That's how much of your heart loved that guy who broke it so completely callously."
"Look, I'm serious. Stop."
"That's how sure you a
Cinnamon Souls"You're mixing water in your coke again."Cinnamon Souls in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
"You do that when you worry."
"I'm always worried."
"No, you're usually cinnamon-in-your-tea worried. This is water-in-coke worried and that is seriously beginning to freak me out."
"What are you worried about?"
"You're going to think it's stupid."
"Well...do you ever wonder about the kind of guy you're waiting for?"
"I think we all wonder about that guy, love."
"I've been thinking about him more often than not lately. What he would be like, I mean."
"Oh. Well...if it helps any, I know what mine would be like."
"Sure. He will be tall, so I have to stand on my toes to kiss him. He will be kind so I can tell him anything without fearing him judging me. He will be strong so he can carry me when I fall."
"Wow. Sounds like you have this figured out. I guess we all have some idea about what our soulmate should be like."
"You know what yours will be like then?"
"No, I'm talking to the li
I'm Not the Marrying KindI'm not the marrying kind.I'm Not the Marrying Kind in Free Verse More Like This
I have stones in my hair instead of flowers,
And a rosebush of thorns is more poignant to me.
I'm not the marrying kind.
My words aren't pretty or wise,
And I can't sing about anything but a broken heart.
I'm not the marrying kind.
I am the sort of damaged you see in an old recorder,
And the kind of old in an instrument that breaks into a billion pieces at a touch.
I'm not the marrying kind.
Neither neat, nor tidy, nor correct in my behavior,
And yes, I did in fact tell you to fuck yourself.
I'm not the marrying kind.
I do not stay silent in arguments,
And I like to lie compulsively, just to see your face change.
I'm not the marrying kind.
I am not the ideal of any lady, nor her likes,
And I do not allow any man to walk all over me.
No. I am not the marrying kind.
But I do like the idea of a little girl with her mo
Running Away"What are you afraid of?" He had asked her as they lay there, under a bay window that showed a velvet black sky, sprinkled with sparkling diamonds. After a few minutes, a hand reached out and took his. He looked down at the soft hand, paper white with rivulets of sapphire under the skin. It had never occurred to him just how much he loved her hands until now.Running Away in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
"Would you like the truth? Or will a lie suffice?" A dulcet voice whispered. She had still not turned to look at him, but her hand in his remained strong.
"The truth." He always asked her for the truth. He didn't want rubies of falsehood, of lies, to ruin what they had taken so long to build. He understood them to be a diamond, and the truth to be their diamond cutter, pulling away pretenses that shouldn't exist. And so, her voice lifted slowly.
"I'm afraid of the door when it shuts out the light. I'm afraid of the jolt my heart makes every time you look at me. I'm afraid of the park bench where my mother and I used to sit and don
Complicated"You know, personally speaking, I don't think you're really unwell at all."Complicated in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
"I'm sorry, are you the one who is sick or am I?"
"There is nothing wrong with you."
"Can you say that again?"
"I said, you aren't sick!"
"Whatever. The receptionist is calling me in, anyway."
"You're a hypochondriac."
"What?! Listen you-"
"Look, just go inside. I'm sure the doctor will say the same thing."
"So. What did the doctor say?"
"That it's complicated."
"Yeah. They need to run more tests and figure it out."
"You sound skeptical."
"You told him that you only get 'sick' in history class."
"And about how your heart races and your hands shake."
"And about how you can't sleep at night and you can't concentrate."
"Yes, yes, all of that, I told him everything I told you."
"Did you also happen to mention the boy who sits in front of you in that class?"
"What's that got to do with it?"
"Tell me something. Have you noticed
telling a sad story backwards-17.telling a sad story backwards- in Short Stories More Like This
it smells like grief and sterilized metal.
i climb into andrews bed, though the nurses have strictly forbidden it. he closes his eyes and holds me tightly, because he says when he cant see me, it is easier to pretend i never happened to him.
he pushes the cart aggressively down the aisle, pretending to mow over old ladies doing their sunday shopping.
"stop," i say giggling, lobbing a can of ravioli at him.
for a moment i think he simply didn't see me throw the can; it glances off his chest and falls to the floor, exploding in a pattern of red arrows. i don't notice his eyes rolling back in his head or the graceful way his body collapses to the floor.
the only thing i notice is the distinct thudding sound as his head hits the metal shelf and the screaming that may or may not be mine.
later in the hospital he calls for me and says he wants to apologize for keeping secrets, and the doctors launch into a medical explanation of his cancer.
their eyes are sad.
Thank You, Slater.I used to go to the nearby campus coffee shop in the early evenings, armed with a pen, a blank notebook, and writer's block. The sense of loneliness was unspoken but well accounted for.Thank You, Slater. in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
I always shared coffee-counterspace with the same boy, who never smiled or talked and who had a penchant for bedhead and argyle sweaters. He liked to lean back on his stool, balancing precariously as he read novels, and I liked to pretend I wasn't watching him watch me. We coexisted in quiet companionship, thrived quietly under fluorescent lighting which sometimes caught his thick-framed glasses.
His novels changed while my notebook remained the same; his dogeared copies of The Sound and the Fury and Animal Farm distracted me as I doodled stars on blank pages, waiting for something that could not be explained.
It was raining. I remember that. His glasses fogged up when he walked in, his tousled black hair dripped water on my elbow.
"Why don't you ever write in your notebook?" he asked, turning to me w
Riding BikesGoing off medication is like riding a bike.Riding Bikes in Stories & Vignettes More Like This
The doctor holds tight to my handlebars and lowers my dosage. The training wheels are off, and oh hey, look at me go! It's like flying but not, and I'm doing so well but then there's a horrible accident and I'm somehow upside down at the bottom of the sea with both wheels still spinning.
"Help," I say, and my doctor pats my head, puts a band-aid on my knee, and writes a note on my chart.
I've balanced by myself for months at a time, but I always end up hitting a fucking tree or falling off a cliff or something equally catastrophic because I am a catastrophic person. Except that is an exaggeration. I am an exaggeration.
I like to compare mental illnesses to mundane physical activities. Also you should know that I am sick but trying to get better.
Sometimes I relapse and then write poems about it.
It's not even the kind of sick where people bring you soup in bed and soothe your fevered brow. It's the kind of sick where I'm late to work because
you can't make them love you.He is beautiful, new, unexplored. He has wanted to kiss her ever since they met one week ago and fell prey to helpless chemistry.you can't make them love you. in Stories & Vignettes More Like This
Dont, she says, moving her hands in a subconscious yes pattern along his arm as he rubs his cheek against hers. You dont even know my favourite colour. The wind cuts through her thin jacket, and his chest is so warm.
Red, he guesses, improbably correct. His ears are cold.
And how many dogs do I have?
Two, he says, and she laughs wildly at his luck as he nuzzles her neck.
Im trying to save you, she tells him, pushing fruitlessly against his broad shoulders. So you dont wa
ScarringAt some point in my life I stopped posting pictures that included my left forearm. It wasn't one of those gradual things where eventually I noticed this to be the case and had to search my soul to figure out why.Scarring in Stories & Vignettes More Like This
I didn't need to figure it out. I knew. My left forearm is covered in scars, and scars are not acceptable anymore. I've grown up and left behind the things that made me sad -- or at least I've told myself that I have.
It could just be that I learned that sadness lasts forever when it's cut into your skin.
That's the thing about scars, though. If you're sad enough or angry enough or empty enough, you don't care about forever, until one day you're grown up and someone is looking at your wrist with a question in their eyes.
People keep saying that scars are beautiful in their own way, that they tell a story. Maybe that's true for others, but not for me. You can't tell a story from the lines of white tissue on my arm. Or maybe you can, and the story is as follows:
"Once upon a tim
NPR three minute story submissionShe closed the book, placed it on the table, and finally, decided to walk through the door. That low rumble had been Tom's temperamental engine; she was sure of it. The sound had tattooed itself on the inside of Anna's ears ages ago. Maybe he was sitting in the front seat of his car, trying to work up the courage to knock. Maybe his brows would knit together and his mouth would quirk and he would say, "I missed you, Sunshine," though he had never once called her by that nickname. Maybe she could apologize, and he would kiss the insides of her wrists, the back of her neck, her eyelids.NPR three minute story submission in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
Yes, she could hear a car door opening. If she listened hard she thought she could even make out the rustle of his corduroy jacket.
Go outside, said her heart.
Wait, said her brain.
She began to count aloud. "One, two, three, four"
Anna was eight when her baby brother was born. He was little more than a fragile bag of bones and organs, an accident waiting to break her heart. Every night she'd snea
compulsive liar.once i asked you your favouritecompulsive liar. in Free Verse More Like This
colour, and you said, "the brown
of your eyes," so i put in one green
contact and told everyone that i
came out of the womb as a factory
defect, half-priced, damaged goods.
sometimes i am from canada and
sometimes i am from england and
sometimes i am from spain.
i've carefully tempered my accents
and plotted out my stories with
yellow and purple coloured pencils
on index cards. my origin changes
like the seasons.
"why do you lie to everyone?" you
"why not?" i reply.
i wear nametags that read "alicia"
and "liana" and "samantha," because
i want to know how it feels to be
someone else for a day.
you make me a nametag with my
real name on it, and i just laugh.
(later i slip it beneath my mattress
and spend the night staring at the ceiling.
see, i've tried myself on one too many
times, and the fit is never right.)
you call me your little compulsive
liar, and i guess that is supposed
to be somewhat affectionate.
i spin before the mir
neverlandi'm giving myself ten minutes to grow up,neverland in Free Verse More Like This
and with every minute that passes i am remembering
balloons and party hats and streamers
and the second star to the right,
straight on 'til morning.
every year i write myself a poem for my birthday,
but this year i think i'll write a poem about
peter pan and he'll die in the end and everyone
will be sad. i'll be the saddest though,
because there comes a point in your life
when you realize that you're not peter pan,
or wendy, or even a lost boy.
(how sad, i think, to be lost but not a lost boy.
it doesn't matter though, because neverland isn't
real and now look, i'm another year older, and what
have i even done with my life?)
today i'm twenty-three and peter pan is dead.
my ten minutes have passed and i still haven't
grown up. people around me forget how to talk
to mermaids, and no one claps because no one
believes in fairies, or flying, or themselves.
today every birthday candle looks like a bone
and i still have so many wishes left to make.
no one warned the little girlssometimes you will fall in love with the handsno one warned the little girls in Free Verse More Like This
or with the jawline, not with the penis.
watch out for boys whose eyes
are rougher than their voices.
little girls love hard and fast, and it is a lie
to say that words will never hurt you.
kissing in the rain is not romantic.
it's cold and wet, and your nipples
will be like pebbles digging into his skin.
he'll wipe water from your lashes,
and, if he is polite, he'll pretend
not to notice his thumb blackened by mascara.
later as he sleeps you will watch his lips,
unable to feel anything except your hair
curled damply against your skin.
when you were young, sex was strange
and scary and unreasonable.
when you grow older, that doesn't change at all.
please, do not use the flavored condoms.
getting married tastes like a wedding
invitation, heavy cardstock and eggplant ink.
if you cut your tongue and bleed
all over the calligraphy, it's bad luck.
when you speak your vows and look in his eyes,
you will still feel the blood
in your mouth, warm a
the perfect strangershe misses colin the most at night, when, waking from nightmares, her hand reaches out into the darkness for someone who is no longer there.the perfect stranger in Stories & Vignettes More Like This
an unexpected message flares briefly on her screen, long enough for her heart to drop into her stomach in surpriseher ex-boyfriend's little sister's ex-boyfriend? sighing, she types a hello and strains her memory to recall what she knows of this boy from their one brief meeting. his name is aaron. tall. shaggy bed-head hair. sleepy hazel eyes. she lightly touches the keyboard, entertaining the notion that other people might feel as lonely at night as she does.
"tell me a secret," she types to him.
"why should I put my trust in you?" he asks, surprised.
"who better to trust than a stranger?"
so he does.
a five minute secret turns into an hour long story, then a night-long conversation.
the next morning, after telling this boy how colin broke her, she wakes to a message in her inbox:
The world is yours.
Boys are stupid.
Every Dog Has Its DayThere once was a dog who wandered the streets. He was a kindly dog who did not have a home.Every Dog Has Its Day in Short Stories More Like This
Sometimes, he would see families at the park playing with their dogs. How he wished he were one of those dogs. After a time, he decided that he would try to befriend one of the children that played in the park. He was overcome with excitement and haphazardly ran toward a child while yelling "Hello!" over and over again. He had almost reached the child when, suddenly, he felt a sharp pain in his side. A man had kicked him causing him to yelp in pain. He never went back to the park again.
Despite that incident, it did not deter him from trying to find someone who wanted him. The dog promised himself that if he should ever find someone to love him, he would return that love a hundredfold.
One rainy morning, as he was searching for food, he happened to come across a pet store. Inside, he saw dozens of
Mr. LizardI remember when I was finally able to convince my parents to buy me a pet lizard. I was so excited! It lived inside a wooden cage with a wire mesh in front. I named it Mr. Lizard. I wasn't very good at coming up with names.Mr. Lizard in Short Stories More Like This
Everyday, when I came back home from school, I'd go to my room and would feed Mr. Lizard a cricket. I thought that was the neatest part about having a lizard. It was fun to watch as the cricket hopped around inside the cage as Mr. Lizard eyed it. I kept thinking, "Oh man, I wonder when he'll eat the cricket!" Then "Munch!" It was done. I was somewhat disgusted by it, but at the same time fascinated.
One night, I was watching a nature show on TV and the people in it were trying to rescue some animals that were captured illegally and being sold as pets. They managed to save a few and then released them back into the wild. Everyone was hap
Inspiring a Teenage BoyIt was late morning when I got to my friend's place and knocked on her door. She opened it, smiled, and then let me in. I looked around and saw that no one else was in the apartment. I asked her where everyone was at and she replied that her younger and older sisters were out shopping, while her parents were still at work.Inspiring a Teenage Boy in Short Stories More Like This
After some idle chitchat, she invited me into her room to listen to some music. I shook my head and said, "Didn't your mom say you weren't allowed to have boys in your room?"
She laughed and replied, "Don't worry! She won't be home for at least a couple of hours."
I remembered the stern warning my friend's mother had given to her; I happened to be there. I could have sworn she was directing that warning directly at ME. She frightened me.
"So? You coming in or what?"
I stood there pondering the consequences if I were caught in her room. I imagined myself being
My DaddyWe were a happy family. It was just me, my mommy, and my daddy. We would do lots of fun things together! Sometimes, we would go to the beach or sometimes we would get ice cream together. It was really fun.My Daddy in Short Stories More Like This
Things got bad when Daddy lost his job. He said his job was taken by someone else who could do it for less money than he could. I did not think it was fair. Still, my daddy never gave up and promised me and Mommy he would find another job soon.
Everyday he circled something on the newspaper and left the house to go see if the people in the newspaper needed help. Everyday, he came back with a sad look on his face and sat on the couch. I would sit next to him and hug him. He always smiled and thanked me. That made me happy.
Mommy would tell Daddy that it was okay and that he would get a job soon. But a long time passed and he still could not get a jo
A Little Birdie Told Me...I was just a child when I first met you. It was late morning and I was bored of playing inside my parents' ice-cream shop. So, I went outside to find something to do. I walked around to the back of the shop and decided to draw some stars and comets, with a rock, on the cool, concrete ground. As I scraped away at the concrete, you suddenly landed a few feet in front of me. You were the cutest little bird I had ever seen. From the tip of your beak, down to the tips of your toes, you were completely black. You cocked your head to one side and chirped at me. I gave you a gapped-tooth grin and said, "I don't know birdie talk." This was the closest I had ever been to a bird before and that made me very happy. We stared at each other for a few moments before you flew away.A Little Birdie Told Me... in Short Stories More Like This
The next day, I was sitting in the same spot as the day before when, to my surprise, you came back to visit me. &
WandererCan a feather fly without a bird?Wanderer in Short Stories More Like This
Only on the whim of the wind.
Regret in ExileI awaken in a place unfamiliar. My skin is ash white, my eyes are black as coal. These are the only colors that I see all around me.Regret in Exile in Short Stories More Like This
It is cold. The kind that seeps into your soul. It is so cold...
Beyond me there is nothingness as far as the eye can see. With nothing better to do, I wander without reason. The mist that covers the ground nips at my heels, swirling as I go.
There is no life as far as I can tell. Perhaps at one time, but not now. All I feel is the charred and blackened vegetation being crushed underfoot.
My sanity frays. I trudge on aimlessly. How long have I traveled? A second? An eon? What does it matter...
I cannot tell for time has no place here. It exists not.
In the distance, a towering, dark mass appears upon the horizon. With great trepidation, I am reluctantly pulled towards it
Drowning in Reversex. I still have your phone.Drowning in Reverse in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
ix. The boardwalk carnival was shut down a few months later, roped off and boarded up like a condemnation of joy. The ferris wheel still rose high above the skyline, towering in silent reminder.
viii. The funeral was on a beautiful, balmy, sunny day and somehow that made it all the worse. The wind would pick up a little and ruffle your goldspun hair and I could hope, just for a moment, that you were still here.
vii. It was a cold, white room. I don't know why hospitals are so cold. Or maybe it was just me - maybe it was just me trying to siphon out all of my warmth and channel it into you.
vi. I didn't see the crowd that gathered on the beach - I barely registered the flash of red and blue lights - I only saw you, skin pale as the stretcher they were loading you on to, blue shirt stained black like a death sigil.
v. Someone was drowning. You cast an arm out pointing - there was someone out there in the dark water drifting further and further from shore.
Babydolls and RacecarsDear Rosie,Babydolls and Racecars in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
I have your baby doll. Give back my racecar or she gets it.
Don't you dare hurt my dolly. Racecars are stupid anyway.
Baby dolls are stupider. So I threw her off a bridge.
Mommy got me a new baby doll because she loves me more than you. So there.
I don't care. Daddy took me out for ice cream and then we went to the park to play catch.
I don't like ice cream anyway. Mommy takes me shopping for pretty cl
Hollow SuicideI love this world.Hollow Suicide in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
I love it even when it's so beautifully achingly lonely that I can feel the drum of my pulse throbbing just under my skin, a constant reminder of the hollow center the veins connect back to.
Sometimes I think I want to build my future in the forest because the trees are so lovely but then I realize that I would be missing out on the vast, limitless blue expanses of oceanwater and the sound of the waves lapping at the shoreline. And then I think of the view from the mountains, or the honey-golden tones of the desert at sunset, the neon lights of the great cities, all the beautiful places in the world I have to choose from, but which one is the most beautiful in the end?
I think about the end of the world, how the forests would burn and the seas would dry up and the mountains would crumble and the cities would fall, and the destruction would still be hauntingly beautiful because it's a reminder of our own impermanence. A gentle memory of that faint
Off TopicIt takes twelve minutesOff Topic in Free Verse More Like This
to assemble sixteen desks
in a perfect circle.
Or as perfect as I can get it.
Then it takes another hour
for the first stragglers to wander in, seating themselves.
The professor always arrives seven
minutes before class begins.
He sits on the left side
while discourse flows easily among
the discordant voices.
The exchange rate on ideas
is ten seconds of silence for a halting opinion,
unsure of itself,
but backed up with a quoted passage
from page one twenty-three, read aloud then cut off -
contradicted by a second opinion.
The first voice breathes easy;
the spotlight eyes are elsewhere.
In the midst of interrupt,
the professor bends one knee
up to his chair, fixing
the loose knot of an old pair of loafers.
He ties a new knot without looking,
caught up in the dialogue
of his charges and finishes tightening
the strings as he raises his voice,
steering the dialouge back
to the topic at hand.
My worn pair of red
and white double-knotted Sketch
This is How I Want YouI want you at 4am rubbing the sleep from your eyes,This is How I Want You in Free Verse More Like This
sighing like the last breath
of a distant thunderstorm.
I want you in dark wash
jeans, white socks and black shoes,
pulling each article off
and leaving the exposed skin for me
to brush my fingertips against
and revel in the faint tremors.
I want you entangled
in my bedsheets
counting the pieces of my spine,
and the hours til dawn. I want
every synapse to crackle
with electric charge, with
I want you,
your heavy, solid warmth
pressing down and concentrating all its force just below my navel,
to leave me struggling for air.
I want you between
the rustle of hair and the curl of toes,
between the first gasp of shock and the last
groan of bliss
(and somewhere in the middle
find the time
The Crazy Kind"How much is that dragon in the window?"The Crazy Kind in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
"What, Balthazar? Keep dreaming kid it takes a special kind to care for a dragon."
"The crazy kind."
"You take care of him."
"Aye, that I do."
"Yeah, yeah, don't go pointing out the obvious. What do you want a dragon for?"
" How much you got in your pocket kid?"
Seafoam and Ash IIA girl once told me she was conceived by the ocean. "By" not "beside" her skin was the color of new seafoam and you could follow her green eyes into the deeps and drown there. She had a soft, papery voice that sighed in and out and dark hair that cascaded past her shoulders like dried seaweed.Seafoam and Ash II in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
She was born along the sea strand, where the ocean met solidity and pounded it into tiny grains. Perhaps she was delivered in a clump of seaweed or crawled her way out of a pink conch shell and learned to swim before learning to walk. She carried an air of calm serenity that rippled around her like an aura wherever she went, content to flow instead of fight.
Her name was Naida.
I met a boy born from the fire tailing comets rushing through the atmosphere. His hair was a shock of red swinging upward and he lit up entire rooms with his presence. He always spoke a little too fast, the words rushing from his mouth like sparks off a firecracker, flickering and dancing. His
Seafoam and AshA girl once told me she was conceived by the ocean. "By" not "beside" her skin was the color of new seafoam and you could follow her green eyes into the deeps and drown there. She had a soft, papery voice that sighed in and out and dark hair that cascaded past her shoulders like dried seaweed.Seafoam and Ash in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
She was born along the sea strand, where the ocean met solidity and pounded it into tiny grains. Perhaps she was delivered in a clump of seaweed or crawled her way out of a pink conch shell and learned to swim before learning to walk. She carried an air of calm serenity that rippled around her like an aura wherever she went, content to flow instead of fight.
I met a boy born from the fire tailing comets rushing through the atmosphere. His hair was a shock of red swinging upward and he lit up entire rooms with his presence. He always spoke a little too fast, the words rushing from his mouth like sparks off a firecracker, flickering and dancing. His golden eyes flashed
Recycled DreamsI was halfway down the second floor apartment stairs when I realized I'd left my left arm on the table.Recycled Dreams in Introductions & Chapters More Like This
It's no surprise of course, for I've always had a habit of misplacing important things like keys, documents, and identification cards, but to leave one’s arm on the table is truly embarrassing. I would have run back to get it, but the bus driver is always a bit early on Tuesdays and I could already hear the distant hum of the engine making its way to me. And it's not like I really need it for work anyway. So I left it behind.
It's penguins and oranges today; my latest client is a fairly normal one. The last dreamer wanted marsupial martial arts masters in Atlantis. In space. You would think putting dreams to canvas is an easy job, and you'd be right - but truly I wonder about humanity at times. Subconscious wanderings are laid bare to my paintbrush - they get their dreams, and I don't fall apart entirely.
Morpheus is upstairs. I know because I can see the color runn
UnattainableThose who are lucky enough to have friends are lucky indeed. For not everyone is so lucky.Unattainable in Emotional More Like This
It must be nice to have someone's shoulder to cry on. Someone you can bitch to; someone who'll hold you when you're hurt. Not everyone has someone like that.
Some of us just have friends, only a few, whom we call best friends, but they don't say such things in return do they? No, because we aren't their best friend, we're just a friend. Or worse that weird person they hang out with.
You see they have someone else that they uncover their heart and soul too. Someone they've known since they were children; or someone they met several years ago and became inseparable. I envy them. I envy all of them.
Some of us don't get those people; some of us don't get relied upon. We aren't all so lucky. Some of us are shunned, through no fault of our own, or perhaps through only our own fault. It's a mystery that will always escape me.
How do they do it? How do they make these excellent friends? How do they beco
For My DaughterDear daughter-I-do-not-have-yet,For My Daughter in Letters More Like This
You will be my perfect. You will be my proudest moments in one small person. You will be made in love, or maybe anger, or maybe even desperation. But that won't matter. What matters is what you will be made into.
You will have Daddy's hair and his nose, and my eyes and my smile, the smile that happens not because someone with a camera told you to, but because you're genuinely happy. But you will have your very own heart and will be full of all the things that give you your you-ness. Whether you sing in the bath or make Valentines for everyone in your class or give your last homemade chocolate chip cookie to the boy sitting alone at recess.
I will write you poems and stories about how you are my miracle. I will read them to you sometimes, just to remind you. As you grow, not a day will go by that I'm not thankful for everything you are. You will be dazzling and beautiful and brilliant and compassionate and playful and curious and all of the things
CeruleanMy favorite color is cerulean.Cerulean in Stories & Vignettes More Like This
It feels like dipping your hand into a brook, smooth pebbles under your fingertips, the water lacing quick and cool between your fingers. It feels like the first warm day after a long winter, when you can shed your heavy coat and a light breeze brushes your arms again. It feels like a bucket of paint, not the tacky wet paint that gets on your jeans from sitting on a newly painted bench too soon. It feels like freshly washed hair woven into one long braid down your back. It feels like a glass bottle to send out to sea with a message. It feels like the surface of photographs, piano keys, and guitar strings.
It moves like bird's wings as they settle into trees at twilight. It moves like tropical fish deep in the Great Barrier Reef. It moves like the lazy rock of a row boat on the lake behind your summer home. It moves like your walk in a new pair of sneakers.
It tastes like fresh fruit, when the juice runs down your chin, and you throw the pit into the grass
Highway DreamingThey're living on cheap ramen and hopeless dreams. He wants to be a world-famous brain surgeon and she wants to be more things than she can count on one hand. Sometimes they fight about her leaving her lipstick in the sink or when he doesn't pick up orange juice at the grocery store. But they're happy, even with the cracked paint and terrible plumbing. Every morning at 7:08 he catches the 7:15 train to the university and she takes their battered old Sedan to her job at the highway tolls. She likes to make up stories about the more interesting cars to tell him later. The bedside lamp is on, her voice humming low in her throat, and he drifts quietly in and out of her highway dreams. She's saving them for something special; something that will make her matter.Highway Dreaming in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
When she gets a cold, he stays home and makes soup and watches re-runs of Seinfeld with her. He rubs her feet and kisses her shoulder before covering her with her favorite comforter. He tiptoes away and lets her doze u
Testament1. AdamTestament in Free Verse More Like This
Your red, your feet, your shoulders; this is how you carried the world. I used to wish I could curl into your ribs like a seed and wait to be something beautiful as you.
Four years ago, you wrote me a song. It was full of bad chords and brass and bass and blaspheme. You gave me the shirt off your back, just so I could dry the bench beneath the oak tree. Untamed, you are better than you think you are.
He who hurled the first stones of all the first kisses you could never give me. He who struck down the mighty Goliath, the blind beast, blundering around in my chest. He who came too late as Babylon was falling.
Your unlaced shoes and unwound scarf and warm warm hands. I will comb your hair and button your coat and forever spell your name s-m-i-l-e.
I wanted your sea glass eyes and your bike on the rain-wet pavement. I wanted to press my palms to your holy temples and learn how to pray. You took my ink stains and my weak weak pride faithfull
In Case You Were WonderingFor as long as I can remember, people have asked me "why do you write?" At first, the answer seemed fairly obvious: "because I like to."In Case You Were Wondering in Emotional More Like This
I wrote down everything; the smell of toast and the sound of water running and even things I'd never experienced before. I didn't discriminate. I knew that everything had the potential to be a story. I read. Like crazy. I read until my eyes fell out and my brain mushed. I didn't think about it, just let it come as it would. Most of the time, it didn't even make sense at all. And I was happy with it all, with my ink-smudged fingers and my notebooks swollen with poems.
But then life got that much more complicated and I wasn't so sure anymore. My poems became lengthier with less rhyme and more angst than was probably good for me. Everything was shattering apart and it was all slipping through my fingers like smoke. Gone were the fluffy little princess stories with pages of dialogue and purple prose, replaced by broken-hearted lovers and equall
BlueI am completely in blue today.Blue in General More Like This
"Rhapsody in Blue," you murmur. I shake my head.
"No, just blue."
"Nothing is 'just' anything with you."
Blue because it's the color of the sky when I'm happiest, water (the same shade as the sky), the cover of my favorite book-of-the-moment (I'm always reading something different), and my cousin's eyes.
Red is your favorite color because it's the color of autumn leaves, fire, your mother's hair, and the ink I'm using (it's smudging onto my hands).
We Summer Salt dizzily through the ocean tide. You find red coral and I find my blue water.
"Mix blue and red and what do you get?" I ask.
"Purple..." you answer hesitantly. I grin.
"I never really liked purple," I tell you.
You distract me by k
Made to Be BrokenWhen golden silence turns to tin,Made to Be Broken in Free Verse More Like This
Lick your wounds,
And hurt the one you love.
Burn your money,
Bring company to your misery,
Laughter is highway robbery.
When your soul is laid bare,
Have your cake
And all the tea in China,
But all's fair in love and war,
So throw it on the walls of glass houses.
Your aching heart is the first stone.
When your soul is beating like a bird in your hand,
If you never say never,
It will be too little, too late.
Love is blind, so don't cover your eyes.
And in the end,
Set it free.
Eucalyptusi. Blue is the color of my veins, but lately I've been pumping more black than red, more maybes than yeses, more footsteps than flight patterns.Eucalyptus in Free Verse More Like This
ii. I started counting that very first night. My shirt plaid, buttons escaping from their holes like necks slipping from their flannel nooses. Your eyes were high beams going the wrong direction on a one-way street, and I knew that this was going to be different.
iii. When you said goodbye instead of goodnight, I felt the butterflies die in the gas chambers of my heart.
iv. It rained today, drowned worms lying limp, guts spilled like secrets on the leaf-slick sidewalk. I paused beneath an oak, with my eucalyptus hair and kohl-smudged eyes, waiting for one of those metal-winged beasts roaring overhead to bring you to me.
v. However long it takes me to forget the sound of your voice, to fall back into the quilt of my own speech patterns instead of yours.
vi. You are my favorite song.
vii. The grit in my teeth from when I tripped and fell too man
Automatici.Automatic in Stories & Vignettes More Like This
"So where are you from?" The boy leans toward me, questions swimming in his eyes. I smile.
"Oh, I'm from Boston."
"No, I mean, where are you from?" My smile falters as I realize where this is going. It's an all-too familiar conversation, one I've been having since I was old enough to reply.
"Do you mean where was I born?"
"I was born in China."
"Do you speak Chinese?"
"Does your family speak Chinese?"
He looks befuddled. I sigh.
"Oh!" I see the light bulb over his head go off in a shower of sparks. "Do you know who your real parents are? Like, your real parents?" My temper flares. I stifle the urge to throw something.
"You mean my biological parents?"
"Oh." There's an awkward pause. I have learned to wait it out, to prepare my next automated response.
"When were you adopted?"
"When I was a year old."
"Did you live in an orphanage?"
"Like in Annie?"
Rolling my eyes seems appropriate.
"No, not l
Maybe I Need YouYou are my lightning.Maybe I Need You in Urban & Spoken Word More Like This
No thunderous warning, just swift and silent.
Set me on fire and burn me alive,
Leaving my bones exposed, blackened and burned.
There are bruises in my arm, and my veins are spread like angel wings,
But the only thing I've been shooting is stars since I met you.
You're tracing electricity across my skin,
I can feel you in the tips of my
Toes hair fingers spine.
Love me, I begged, palms wide open.
Just love me.
I'm a coin set on edge,
Sent spinning madly across the table.
But I'm running out of turn,
Juddering, clattering, in my electric chair,
Finally going flat.
Heads or tails?
I swear you can hear my heart beat
Me black and blue,
Attacking with all it's got.
There's no defibrillator shocking me back to life,
And it's telling me, no, not this time. You can't. You can't.
Maybe I can.
(When it rains, it pours
And with every pore,
Maybe I want you.)
Maybe I want to be the first thing you see in the morning,
And the last thing on the insides of your eyelids.
One ChanceElliot is four. He watches his grandfather breathe out cigarette smoke in his creaking armchair. The living room is small enough to be heated by the portable radiator near his grandfather's slippers. When the old man realises his grandson waits for him, he begins.One Chance in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
"This is a ruined world, son. Diseased with hatred and war before you were born." He takes a drag on his cigarette and Elliot breathes in the coming smoke. "This world is dead, but I know there's another. We could go to it if we only knew the way." Elliot's grandfather smiles at his thoughts. "There's another place put aside for us. I'll find the door one day."
The radiator splutters to its death and the old man curses his misfortune.
Elliot is ten. His hair is in a ponytail because that's how his brother wears it and his big brother's the best. Nick Ward and his friends from the year above don't think so.
They grab Elliot as soon as he leaves the cubicle in the little boy's room and pushes him face first into a wall, holding
Handmade LessonsHe decided to raise the baby well.Handmade Lessons in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
(He had decided this previously, but the newest plan only clicked and secured in the hardest throes of grief.)
That was why he designed the baby mobile and cot from scratch. They were perfect and ready for when it returned from social services. They were filled with lessons.
The baby cried as it left the social woman’s arms to the father’s calloused hands. She told him not to worry about that and it’ll be fine. He fed the crying baby as the social woman watched, and when the social woman left he took the baby to the cot.
(The real one. Not the Ikea cot in the decoy nursery.)
The skeleton of the cot was normal enough, but he had wrapped it in a football net, so the baby would learn that it was caught and trapped. No one chose to be born. Not even him or the child’s mother. Everyone was pushed in and everyone was ripped out. And in the middle, everyone struggled.
He put it in the cot, and wiped the wet tiredness from his cheeks.
A Note on DrowningI am writing this letter for myself. If you have found this letter, please give it to me. If you find that I lack the will to read, if my mind is gone, if my hands are bloodied, tell me at least, that the song is near its end. If I am dead [indistinguishable]A Note on Drowning in Short Stories More Like This
[Written in the margin: IF I AM DEAD THROW ME TO THE SEA]
In laying out the bones of my terrors, a solution may be found.
I’ll start before the beginning, when Mother took me for walks on the beach and told stories. Together we missed my father, who sailed the sea. These are my earliest memories, but I remember things had always been this way. We walked together, and I counted my many steps and Mother’s few. When I stretched my legs, I could make it so my path went over only her footprints.
The sand was soft where she had stepped. Elsewhere was gritty, and unclean.
I was young for all of Mother’s stories. Here I will write the relevant one as best I remember.
“A sailor was on a ship. This ship was far of
The RunThere are some sounds you only hear at certain times though they are ever present. For example, a clock ticking down until the end of the work day, or the high frequency vibration inside silence. Like that, sometimes you can hear the universe cheer.The Run in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
The wind blew through the wild grass, and the grass clapped. She ran at full tilt. It’s do or die.
Her bare feet slapped through puddles of yesterday’s rain, and each splash exclaimed what she needed to hear. Alive. Alive. Alive. Rock and grit scratched the soles of her feet. Her shoes had slipped off in the struggle between her and The Clippers. They had dragged her by the ankles to their workstation. It was her time, but she escaped. (Only just.)
They were behind her now. Far, far behind. But to slow down would mean disaster.
The cliff came into sight. It’s do or die.
She ran and the universe cheered. The wind pushed her. The trees urged her. The birds above flew with her. They sang.
Like the magician
Nothing FaceI was still trying to call her as I ran down her street. The pretty heels I had worn for work were in my bag with my half-finished lunch. They poked and stabbed my waist.Nothing Face in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
I saw her door and imagined charging through it.
I knocked. I rang the bell. I pounded.
“The number you are trying to call is unavailable. Please leave a message after the tone.”
“Hello? It’s me again. I’m at the door. If you don’t want to let me in, fine. But please answer my calls. Or even just text me. Or even a missed call if you don’t want to say anything. Please. Just let me know that you’re . . .”
The door clicked. It opened. I hung up on those fears. She’s fine.
My sister (my little sister) looked at me that way through the halfway opened door. I hated when she had this face. It was the Nothing Face.
“What are you doing?” she asked in monotone.
“Hi,” I sighed. “Um. Can I come in?
The Mirror's DeceptionYou believed the mirror's lie. Mirrors are charming creatures. So silver and exact so beautiful. What need do they have to deceive?The Mirror's Deception in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
Your mirror told you that you would carry the scars of that day always. That was true.
And your mirror told you that you were ugly because of it. That was a lie.
Ink VoiceWhile the other children spilled into the playground, Ren stayed inside. She sat in her beanbag and leafed through a book. Ren loved stories as much as she hated talking. This late into the year, she had read and reread every child-battered book on the shelf several times. And she loved them all.Ink Voice in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
They smelled like . . . magic.
Stories were doors and Ren used them to fall into other worlds.
Except, not really. She only pretended to do so, and it was hard to pretend when grownups decide to interrupt her quiet reading.
"Which book are you reading today, Ren?" Miss Payper asked.
Don't say a word.
Ren did not look up at her teacher. She continued to read The Gruffalo. It was funny, not scary, and very clever.
"Would you like to read aloud to me?"
If you talk, he will know. Oh, he'll know.
She didn't like reading aloud. Not really. The words were better on paper than on her tongue.
"Is there anything you would like to say?"
Never tell! Never never
Fallen StarYou're small, Nova. You're smaller than most. Your insignificance is an insult to life.Fallen Star in Short Stories More Like This
The voice spoke to Nova in clear tones through the howl of northern winds and the crash of waves. The voice was not her own. It spoke inside her with words cruel and true.
You're not unique. You're not special. You're not loved.
She trusted the new voice more than her own. The old pleaded in stuttering whispers that it was not time to die. The sky stormed above her. The sea thrashed.
Not brave enough to see the waves smash her body, Nova turned and fell backwards. She watched light divide the clouds, as she plummeted to her death.
Panic swam up from her gut to her throat, smothering her as she fell. Soon it would be over. Soon.
When the force of the fall reached its height the sky split. And broke. And went dark.
It was quick, but here is what happened. Look up and watch the sky in slowed time.
The clouds divided not by light but by
bipolar IIa week is spentbipolar II in Free Verse More Like This
in throes of excitability,
irritation, unstoppable words,
and ideas with wings of their own-
they soar in their preternatural flight
without a second's notice
and meander along separate currents.
sleep is an elusive,
fought for so ruthlessly,
only to have it slip away,
mere hours later.
i am icarus, resin-winged in thought
and flying til my fingers can
brush the sun.
i am icarus, resin-winged in thought
and watching my feathers drop
until my body
is subject once more
to the relentless rules of gravity.
hitting the dirt
hurts more every time-
physics has no mercy for bruised bones.
refusal to meet my mother's gaze,
to speak when spoken to,
and to move from the cave of my bedroom
i know how the sun feels
when it sinks below the earth,
and the struggle of the moon
as it thrashes to rise.
the endless circle
from night and day
grows so tiresome that sometime,
it will just
how not pretending anymore is a blessingi won't pretend to anyone that i'm not scared. here i am, standing before god-knows-how-many-people, telling them things i don't have the heart to even tell my mother. especially things i don't have the heart to tell my mother.how not pretending anymore is a blessing in Urban & Spoken Word More Like This
i could never tell her how many times i've looked at the stars and used them to hold onto my wishes on paper strings, make them hold onto my wishes and me, mostly me, like a marionette
until the sky faded from black to blue, just like the bruises i put on my skin. sometimes a girl doesn't know how to cope, and that's why those paper strings, those thin, angry lines hanging from the heavens,
found their ways to my arms and bled me happy.
i could never tell my mother how i've dreamt of flying and dying and how i can't tell the difference anymore, just the way i can't look in the mirror without crying, just the way i can't look in the mirror and tell if i am human or monster.
it's impossible to tell the woman who put you into this world through hours of pain, becau
breathing takes a second too longi'm just going to write this all out because if i stop to so much as breathe or count the seconds in my head until i feel like maybe you're a little closer to me then i might just fall apart. i don't have much control over my punctuation or spelling or grammar but i also don't have much control over myself and especially not over you and me together, and it's terrifying but it's all i want.breathing takes a second too long in Free Verse More Like This
i want to be able to see you and i want to press myself against you as tightly as i can because there have been way too many miles between us for way too long and all i want is you and when i stand up i want you to still be against me and when i lie down i want you still to surround me and when i walk over to the door to leave because maybe you made me sad or maybe it's just time to go i want to walk out to my doorstep and have you still be encircling me like i am the destination on your map that you've been looking for for so long.
i don't want to be the sore spot between your elbow and forearm fro
worcester union stationthe train takes me from youworcester union station in Free Verse More Like This
at a white marble station,
too clean for the city,
too cold for the warmth
you left with me
blooms on your skin
i am sorry
but treasure my scrapes
it is still like having you
instead of miles west
til we can become knots
in the ropes of each other's
bodies, a hopelessly hopeful
entanglement of more
than just skin
this is something
i fear with open arms
and will it closer
to my heart;
an emotion becoming
a corporeal entity
i forgot like flowers
would come again
the beauty of sharing space
is how unlonely it is;
i like to have space
but space filled with you
a little more beautiful.
revelations in the mudi only want to fall in loverevelations in the mud in Urban & Spoken Word More Like This
if someone is there
to fall with me.
i want to jump from high places
and pretend i'm flying,
i'm a bird, i'm light enough at-fucking-last
for the air to catch me,
and the harsh grounds beneath me?
can't touch this.
but i'm earthbound
and parachutes will not work
if you do not open them,
and i am just so sick
of feeling like maybe,
becoming an abstract painting
on the rocks below, would be enough...
but there is something beating in my chest.
i'm very afraid of what it is.
and i don't know a lot,
like the size of the universe.
or why you sought solace in the south.
or how i came to be in this crater that swallowed me whole;
but i do know the second you told me
you felt the same for me like i did for you,
something in my universe shifted.
part of my soul went to georgia...
and i began to climb.
the purpose of life is to knock you on your ass
so you have to do something with it to get back up.
i don't know about you,
but i'm pretty fuckin' tired of feelin
a like poemI want to write a love poem,a like poem in Free Verse More Like This
but I only want to be in love
if I have someone there with me.
I romanticise the efforts
of pressing pen to paper,
painting pages personal
and colouring them
the same green as your eyes-
that's something that never
strikes me as common,
as something permanent
or a given
like a constant variable.
to wake up,
and see the lids like curtains,
thick and deep like night,
I feel like I am a film photograph.
and when they open,
sealed with sleep
and more honest than ever
before a single wall can be erected,
I see a poem
as I begin to swim,
in place of writing it down,
I smile along with you
and we readjust
to be closer and enfolded
like paper cranes
in the other's arms,
with a connection,
of lips and teeth,
we drift off again
to a sultry sleep.
virgin culturethere's a little more to love than lustvirgin culture in Urban & Spoken Word More Like This
and a little more to a person than a label.
you can try to sum me up in five words or less and you'll find those words,
but you won't be able to reduce me to them.
you can't turn me into something that can be thrust,
down the grapevine
when there's something more to me than the colour of my eyes or the size of my chest.
and that's something we could all do with remembering.
but this is the culture we were born into.
where the length of your hair is more important than the sincerity of your words,
and nothing matters as much as the kardashians' latest scandal or talking some hot chick into bed.
i'm nineteen. i understand. but i'm frequently finding myself writhing in my own reassurance that i exist.
my name is melissa, i am a liberal, college-going female who doesn't remember what her own house looks like but remembers her childhood telephone number
and i'm not sure if that's ok. is it normal, am i the only one in this goddamn world wh
something i should've written a year agoare you happy?something i should've written a year ago in Urban & Spoken Word More Like This
you hear that, but you don't actually ask yourself if you're happy.
you assume you are,
you expect yourself to be, you should be,
it's not important enough to think about-
because what if you aren't?
it's last summer again.
you've locked yourself out of your car
and we're sitting with our knees crossed
on the pavement in front of kate's house.
somewhere, you can hear fireworks,
but you know they're illegal because the town is too broke
to put on a show this year.
you know no one minded.
look at me now-
what if you're miserable?
july cruises in like a convertible or some equally hot shit.
standing by the sealit water,
i watch you roll down your window
to let the heat fall in.
that was the night we were under the stars
and in the sand, despite the poor blanket's best efforts.
we drank italian sodas and blew straw wrappers at each other.
we ate too much and i didn't cry.
crying came later. maybe a couple weeks.
crying came in your car when you told me
you swore to yourself
this is less of a love poem and more of athere is something to be saidthis is less of a love poem and more of a in Free Verse More Like This
about resisting the temptation
to start out with a bang.
the hallway of your neck
has never lost its scent
and it's something, i swear,
i swear, i can never forget
because it's something surreal
to wake up while you're asleep
and feel you pull me closer
til our faces almost meet-
hold onto that almost,
hold onto it like stardust.
you need to touch me in a whisper
because it's been too long
since i've felt the hand of someone
who actually meant it,
someone who actually meant something
and i'm so glad, my god,
i'm on my knees
i am praying to(o,) my god
that we won't burn out so quick this time,
i'm too tired to bear new scars
i just want you to love me
but that's not something i could ever ask.
just some time maybe,
i know that no august moon can watch us forever
and keep us warm,
and no constellation can teach me everything
i've ever needed to know.
but everything ugly i ever saw about you
and everything unflattering?
it's gone like the magic we
my dead gay brother becomes memore and more i am becoming an invisible monster.my dead gay brother becomes me in Free Verse More Like This
i can't cry without an audience
i am willing to bend and bend and bend and
to just get a little
love love love lovelvoe lvoelve love love love
i will do anything for you if you just tell me you love me
i am a nobody
with backbreaking pains to become something beautiful
and if i can't have that
i want to be invisible
i want to be nothing
oh how i wish it wasn't so
as nothing as i am
i want you to love me.